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Thread: Early Japanese Motorcycles

  1. #21
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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Hi it's me again,
    today a few things that I learned about Cabton :
    The Misuho Motor co.Started in 1923 to make aircraft parts (?)and by '27 they started selling their first 350side valve and later 350 and 500 copies of the British Ariel Red Hunter 4stroke single OHV.
    This is apicture that I found of a Cabton VG 500 of !937:

    Although I only found information about a post war Red Hunter copy this bike on top looks realy pre war,
    Who knows.
    And this next one is the post WW2 350 "Knightly"of 1954(Supposedly from the name of the founder of the co.Shoichi Naito.It kind of sounds the same)

    And the Ariel that was cloned without a license I believe,a NH350from'52:

    Check out that even the badge on the gas tank has the same shape and same kind of lettering.


    By the way the name of the bike comes from:Come And Buy To Osaka Nakagawa. Osaka Nakagawa is the area of their factory or maybe their main outlet.(or something).Propably because a 'western' sounding name meant quality to the Japanese back then.Next a brochure from1935 with the acronym C.A.B.T.O.N.(The bike in the brochure has an engine copied from the Meguro engine that was copied from Motosacoche and not the Cabton engine that was copied from Ariel!!!)
    (Or they bought the engine from Meguro?Or it is a Meguro bike sold by Cabton who were dealers for other brands too?Dammit.I am lost.But there is a Meguro conection somewhere there.)




    Anyway, it can't have been very fast with 14hp\3750rpm from the 70X90 single cylinder but it had a good reputation for
    cheap and reliable "real bike" ownership in post war austerity.
    By the early '50's the competition beetwen the factories was fierce and Cabton produced 125 and 250cc
    bikes that was the popular category.I couldnt find any dedtails on these,but around 54 they made a
    twin in 600cc and 250cc.These where copied from the Indian Warrior(not arrow as I said in a previous post)but they where a mirror copy,drive side on the left for Cabton and on the right for Indian.
    Last edited by fkostas; 30th May 2013 at 03:42 AM.

  2. #22
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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    I continue from the previous post.
    So this is the Cabton RTS 600 engine :


    And a 250 version of the Cabton for which I could'nt find any info.Can it be single cylinder just like Indian had a single version of that engine in250cc called Arrow?I can't tell from this pic. but here it is:

    And next the Indian engine.See how it has the timing side on the left of the engine while Cabton has it to the right.

    The RTS had28hp/4000rpm the torque was5.0kg\3500rpm and a top speed of 130km/h.Why would they go to the trouble of copying as a mirror image is really a mystery to me,although we have to say that when
    indian made that engine inspired by Triumph (TheWarrior is not a copy but is heavily influenced by the British school)
    they made it also as a mirror image of the usual British practice of drive side on the left and timing side to the right.
    So Cabton just went back to the British practice.(Why?).
    It's also strange why did they pick this Indian to copy.The Warrior-Arrow-Super Scout was an effort of Indian to catch up
    with the British who where doing great in the USA with the 500-650 twins.The engineer who designed these engines
    was working for an outboard engine company(maybe Evinrude?) and wasn't aware of the different loads that a motorcycle
    puts on the moving parts of the engine.So used to draw boat engines that more or less work in constant rpm he made a very weak engine which as soon as it came on the market it got a bad reliability name.So Indian beetwen paying the
    guaranty
    repairs and trying to improve the engine for the next models went bankrupt and those where the last true made in USA
    Indians.Not that they would'nt go out of bussines anyway but the warrior was the last nail in their coffin.
    Mizuho Cabton didnt go very well either.To compete to the other brands in the market they followed a policy of low prices
    mass production and deals with other manufacturers to develope together new engines.
    In 1954 the year that the RTS 600 came out they had 800 workers but two years later the production stopped the factory
    closed the doors and a few years later the founder,Shoichi Naito,suicided.
    The policy of prices lower than the competition,mainly Honda and Meguro,meant less quality control,deteriorating quality of their products and loss of their good reputation.
    Mizuho in Japan is considered to be a company that commited suicide.
    Somehow the"technical lineage" was inherited by Kawasaki,I don't know how but propably by hiring the Cabton engineers.
    Next pic the RTS 600.I could'nt find a better picture.This bike has a big story.Sunk in the sea after a huricane when almost new,saved,restored only to get burried in mud in some other natural disaster in the 80's

    And this is the Indian Warrior TT version.A real beauty.

    Here I have to say that all this story is very brief Cabton made about20 different models mostly postWW2 but the info is almost non excisting.As I read in a Japanese classic bike blog,even today there's a type of cylindrical exaust silencer
    that is called"cabton muffler" (something like the "goldie"type silencer )but not many know what it is named from
    and they think it is a brand.Which goes to show that not even there they know about Cabton.
    Pictures that I see from Japanese classic bike meetings makes me believe that the twin is very rare While the single
    appears more often but still not as often as Meguros Rikuos and the big four's old models.
    They propably didn't sell to many in such a sort time they where in production although police forces did buy a few.
    Didn't find any conection of Cabton with autorace or any other kind of racing and this is not surprising considering
    the unreliability issues that I read about every time someone says something about the Cabton twins.
    Next a 500 single with sidecar

    And another single a 350 I think
    Last edited by fkostas; 26th May 2013 at 12:14 AM.

  3. #23
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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Hello again,
    writing in the previous post about the Cabton choosing the wrong bike to copy reminded me of another
    bike manufacturer that did the same wrong choice.
    This manufacturer was Kitagawa motor works from Hamamatsu(where else?) and they existed from
    1948 to1959.
    There are written records of that co. importing 3 Sunbeams S8 and in 1954 they came out with a copy
    of it which was actualy a scaled down copy because the Sumbeam was 500cc while the Liner as they
    named it was 250cc.
    next picture the Liner TW250.OHC twin,12,6hp/5500rpm,55mmX52mm.


    And the Sumbeam S8 for comparison:

    Very nice cast aluminum muffler by the way.
    The Sunbeam was made by BSA, who owned the Sunbeam name,after they studied the blue prints of the BMW twin that they took home from Germany as war reparations.
    BSA hired Erling Poppe who was involved in many projects pre and post war with Douglas bikes ,some
    weird three wheeler and others.He even had his own motorcycle brand,Packman and Poppe(1922 1930),
    but in all of these ventures he was using bought in engines.I didn't find any evidence that he ever
    produce an engine designed by him.
    Anyway BSA hired him and of course they didn't want to make a distinctively Germanic bike,there was strong antigerman feelings still in GB,so they chose to make an OHC parallel twin lengthwise on the frame so they use shaft final drive.
    But the bike just wasn't good.It had a fragile shaft,head oiling issues and other handling problems.
    Of course BSA improved it and had a new nodel before the year ended and they improved it more until
    !956 when they stopped making it.
    It never became popular,even though the later models are really sweet,and I wonder what drew
    Kitagawa's attention on that specific model especialy in '54 when all the issues of the S8 where common knowledge(the S7 was introduced in 1946 and the S8 in '4 and the fact that they were not good sellers has been proved already.
    So back at Hamamatsu thinks didn't look vey good either and in 1959 Yamaha bought the company or
    bought part of it and eventually absorbed it.
    Somehow it still exist inside Yamaha as Body Industries Yamaha(???).
    Of course they had other models too like the Portly Robin.A side valve 150cc

    Later a side valve with a 125 cc unit engine that imitates Showa's SH engine and it's called Liner Portly 125.
    It shares this brochure with the TW:


    In 1953 they make an OHC 150 cc version of this engine, 55 mmX63 mm,compresion 6.5:1,7hp at 5000rpm.
    They raced it in the first Nagoya TT.
    Sometime they also made a scooter the Crown KC:


    I also found this brochure with a TW 250 with earles fork and deep valanced mudguards.I think it is the second version of the TW.The bike behind it is a 125 side valve Portly Robin.


    Last edited by fkostas; 8th June 2013 at 03:17 PM.

  4. #24
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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Hello Hiko,
    as I was looking back through your posts I see this blue bike that you say the only thing you know about is that itis called FB 250 and it looks like a BMW single.
    Well,this bike is a Rikuo FB250.Rikuo in 1949 went bankrupt and the production of the Harley style bikes
    passed to Showa aircrafts(?)who resumed production of the"king of the road".At the same time Rikuo (the new Rikuo?)started working on aBMW type of
    engine.In 1952(1954 elsewhere)they started selling the first model,RikuoF 250 and 350.
    Here a picture of it:

    It looks like a BMW dressed in american clothes.
    It had a68X68 cylinder the same as BMW R26(Ithink),low compression on 6.7:1 and 12hp/5200rpm.
    Next abrochure of the Rikuo F:

    The bike on your post Hiko is the second model the FB250.Here is another picture:

    From what I can understand in a Japanese blog,someone who had one when new says he had to fix it all the time and pickup the parts that where falling on the road(but he still has the best memories of
    it).
    Unreliable or not, Rikuo took it to Asama mountain races where all the manufacturers of the era where
    racing their new engines.This was the proving ground of the industry and a victoy there meant
    (usualy) good sales.

    The one above is a 350 and it has suspension different from the production bikes .
    I also see one pushrod tunnel.Does it have another one on the other side?Is it a special racing engine?
    Rikuo in1959 after they made a new 750 twin (RX 750) wich was made only in prototype form they went bankrupt again(third time?)and passed into history.
    In my next post I will talk for the other BMW copies or imitations from Japan.
    Is anybody interested?AmI abusing the hospitality of this forum with irelevant info.?
    Last edited by fkostas; 8th May 2013 at 01:45 AM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Hi again,
    I got lost in Japan for a while.
    So the most well known BMW type of Japanese bikes are the Marusho lilac wich are more or less covered
    in this thread already.
    Some more pictures here
    This is what I have tagged as Baby Lilac JF-2 90cc:

    No one can say that they copied THAT FRAME.

    Next a 250 UY2 from 1957



    Next Lilac LB side valve


    This is called Lilac Dragon!!


    A 125cc from 1958


    And one that went racing:Lilac SYZ.I think Asama mountain races .
    Imagine a BMW R26 racing!!

  6. #26
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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Another industry that made BMW copies was Daito Seiki and from 1953 to 1959 they made the DSK A25,a copy of the BMW
    R25,the 500 A50 copy of the R51 and the AB25 copy of the R26.
    This company was making knitting machinery as many others that made bikes after the war
    and it was in this business until 2004.
    In 1953 they made the A25,a 100% copy of the BMW down to the last bolt.
    This is it:


    But this wasn't a cheap bike with stolen technology but more of an upmarket product, expensive comparing to the competition but still cheaper than the imported(and heavily taxed) BMW and they sold well.
    As I read they mesured each part and analysed the exact composition of each metal alloy and went a long way to find high quality steel and alluminum that where in sort suply in
    post war Japan.
    Next the A50:



    The only difference from the BMW is the exaust pipe that is takced in close to the frame and a kink up just before the muffler
    because Japan's roads where many times unpaved and this gave them a little more ground clearence.
    When BMW found out about that clone they send a team of investigators to check on them,but when
    they visited the production line and they realised the care and thoroughness that went into each step of the production they gave permision to continue without charging them for
    a licence.Maybe BMW thought that imitation is the sincerest form of flatery.Though I don't think so and propably BMW could'nt do much to stop it and maybe because of the import taxes they had no sales in Japan anyway.Also I think BMW in the 50s had their own financial problems and didn't want to get involved in endless court cases.Who knows.
    Of course they forbid any exports to DSK but they did gave them technical assistance!!!
    next the AB 25 from '59:


    And the one of the two different badges they used:

    I have no idea what DMW stands for.
    It seems everybody entered the races that where on unpaved tracks
    This is called R50(?)

    And this R25


    In 1957 the factory burned down to ashes.The dealers that where sellingDSK bikes had a meeting and agreed to fund the company to build a new factory and continue production.The company re emerged as DSK automotive industry.They made the AB model,a copy of the R26 but by '59 it was all over,for good this time.
    Last edited by fkostas; 3rd June 2013 at 02:42 PM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    One more BMW clone was made by the Iwata industries from 1953(or 55) to 1960.
    Iwata was a big co. with various divisions and they were producing shoe making machinery but also
    leather shoes among other things.
    They were very advanced in metalurgy with their own laboratory doing the research on special steels and alloys but also machining methods and they produced machinery to the finest tolerances.
    They were making subcontract work for other manufacturers including parts for a tricycle(maybe for Daihatsu?).
    In 1953 they decided to profit themselves from their own technical know how and copied a BMW 500
    aiming to make a luxury tourer for the Japanese market.


    This was state of the art engineering and the people that made it happen where proud of their bike.
    The reason they copied was that they didn't have experiance in motorcycles so they chose to
    do a well proven design ,of very high standards for the era, as an engineering chalenge.Let's not forget that from the 30's to the 60's almost every motorcycle producing
    country had their own BMW clone and they were not considered cheap copies in the sense of today's
    chinese copies
    Next a nicely restored one:


    The BIM was virtualy hand made with the finest metals by a small workforce and they made about 230
    units altogether.
    Next picture is the workforce (I think all of it).The man on the left of the pic.on the BIM with a white shirt is
    Mr Tomizuka Kiyoshi(?),a two stroke expert(!!!) and on the BIM next to him with the leather jacket
    is Mr Toichi Tanahashi who I believe was the chief engineer.


    The BIM was an exact copy except for wider handlebars padded seat and exaust pipes routed close to the frame
    just like the DSK and probably for the same reason,the bad roads of Japan in the 50's


    In 1960 they stopped bike production.I can't find why but maybe they decided that it was not worth it.
    A big corporation having a small division producing low volume hand made bikes doesn't sound very
    profitable and they probably only did it to prove that they can.
    Nowhere in the story of BIM I see them having any plans for mass production or for another models.
    The company still exists as Madras shoes in Japan.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    One more industry that made BMW tyype of engines was Tsubasa who was producing the two stroke engine for the Daihatsu midget tricycle and was either a division of Daihatsu or indipendent that was absorbed by the bigger co.in 1952.
    Tsubasa first made a 250, English type, 4 stroke the T80 A in 1954:


    250cc OHV 12hp/5500rpm.They entered it to the Asama track races,which was a dirt track,with good results.This model is called R1:



    I don't know why the next one has girder fork and hard tail but it's also a racer.


    And the engine:

    If you want to have as light as possible an engine why bother making holes? You can just cut
    everything out and hold them together with metal rod.I just love the hand made look of it.
    The same engine was also used in autorace:


    I see a B.S.A. gearbox in there !!!. There was also a futuristic 2stroke designed by the young Mr Hachiro Tamura who had a think for integrated headlamps.It is the Fighter HC 125
    of 1953:
    Last edited by fkostas; 8th May 2013 at 01:55 PM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Tsubasa when the first 250 model came on the market had already the next model ready the G1 20
    250cc OHV,shaft drive,Earles type fork.

    It was distributed through the Daihatsu dealers.
    The next model was the Falcon GY in 1958 and it was redesigned by Mr Tamura:




    It seems they had plans for further models including a boxer twin designed by MrTamura again.
    Monocoque frame(sounds better than pressed steel)with the engine suspended from it?


    But from 1960 the Tsubasa has merged into Daihatsu completely and Daihatsu didn't want to hear anything about radical designs and new engine development and in 1965 they pulled the plug on bike production.

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    Re: LEFT OUT TEXT



    And the last industry that I know with a BMW type of engine is Olympus.
    Olympus was made by the Katayama industry which was founded in 1947 to make farming or(and) agriculture machinery starting from '48.
    In 1950 they started making motorcycles with their own 150cc engine in the English style.
    this is the first model,150 cc OHV:


    The engine was also sold to other manufacturers and IMC was one of them.IMC was also using the
    Cabton 250 twin in one of their models.
    The next 150cc of 1953:


    next in 1955 they made the King with a 250 engine which was a copy of the Horex Regina and was also sold to other industries.(I believe Hosk bought it for their AB 250 and this must be the conection between Hosk and Horex):


    Next a 250 OHV which I think was called Max like the NSU that inspired it:
    Last edited by fkostas; 22nd May 2013 at 02:07 PM.

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    Olympus in 1956 made an OHC twin 250 cc but I can't find anything on this and it was propably a
    prototype.
    In 1957(56?) they made a boxer twin with shaft final drive and they named it Crown.But it wasn't a BMW copy.It was a 2stroke and was inspired by the east German IFA ,later MZ 350 BK.MZ used an engine from an airplane starter and it was more like a mariage between a BMW flat twin and a DKW 125 2stroke:
    The Olympus Crown.


    Next the MZ that inspired it:


    But it seems that they hurried it into the production without enough development and the bike had mechanical problems which as I read finaly drove the co. to bankrapty.
    But they still haven't said their last word.
    In 1960 they made what seems to be the first Japanese 2stroke twin.It had a parallel twin engine with horizontal cylinders a la Moto Rumi and "futuristic" design.
    The model that was presented at Osaka auto show in 1960 with hidden exausts in the rear mudguard:


    and the production model Olympus Crown:

    The huge gas tank which hide the carbs and air filter looks better with the horizontal engine than the empty space that the Rumi has under the tank.
    But in 1960 the cheap light cars where starting to be more popular and Olympus slowed down the production and in 1963 stopped production of motorcycles.
    Last edited by fkostas; 30th May 2013 at 04:44 AM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Oops!Mistake,the flat twin Olympus is named Crown not the horizontal twin.Here I take the oportunity to say that all these
    things I write and post are definetely NOT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.I just like the subject and I like to search in the net for old Japanese bikes but somewhere between my ignorance on the subject and the google translation I am sure some wrong info is posted.As I learn more about it,I already see some mistakes in my previous posts so dont take any information for certain.This is the reason that many times I say"I guess" or "it seems" or it looks like" or (?) etc.
    As for the pictures I dont post any that have a copyright sign,I try not to use any pics that include people or others that look
    professional (in a studio etc).I try to post pics that look "public",from old magazines,old brochures,classic bike gatherings ,museum snapshots,photos that are already doing the round of the blogs etc.
    I make these posts because I like the idea that all that info will be in one english speaking forum for anyone to see.
    If by doing that I offend someone please say so and let's fix whatever problem there might be.

  13. #33
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    Re: THE HONDA STORY PART 1



    Hi today afew things that I found out about HOSK.
    The Hosk is an important part of the Japanese motorcycle history even though they made bikes for such a sort time.
    The co.starts in 1909 by Mitsushige Yamada as a bicycle and bike importer.(Yamada rinseikwan co.?)
    They imported Triumph,Bsa,Calthorpe,NSU and other makes and from 1916
    Harleys,Hendersons,American Excelsior,Reading Standard.
    In 1913 they will become distributors of Asahi for all Japan but they don't just sell motorcycles.They employ a lathe master and a sheet metal expert(?) they make parts for the foreign bikes since parts ordered from abroad might take more than 6 months to come to Japan.
    They also sell and repair clocks radios home appliances.

    This is an Ariel SF 1931 barn find that was imported by Yamada


    It has the Yamada badge to prove it

    All these continue until 1938 when heavy import taxes make the import of bikes almost impossible.
    In 1940 the only son of Mr Yamada dies in the war and he loses his interest in the co. and in 1949 Mr Yamada dies.
    But he also had 2 daughters and his son in law Mr Ozeki establishes a new co.(Japan high speed engine?) with the Brand name Horse to make their own engine and other parts:speedometers ,seats ,oil pumps and others.

    A brochure with the Horse brand from a blog that had old brochures of motorcycling clothes so I suppose
    it advertises the overcoat.


    In 1949 they hire Mr. Haruo Shimizu who in pre war times had made from scrach ,a motorcycle engine, then he made a hand made frame to install that engine and then he raced it.
    The engine was an OHC 200cc copy of the AJS OHC K7 250.After the war, wounded
    on the leg, he couldn't race but he entered his bike in autorace with other riders.There are stories here about some seroius gambling,races being set upetc.but I lost the details in translation.


    Another brochure for the parts they were making(headlights, direction indicators etc) with the Hosk name
    There is a horse with a rider in the corner that reminds of Ariel's bagde.(looks a little like a donkey to me).




    Eventually he started a small production run of this engine to sell to others.
    In one of the races Mr Ozeki found him and told him they can produce together
    a bike with that engine and sell it through the nationwide Yamada distribution.
    In 1951 they produce two prototypes in 150 cc.One OHC and one side valve.
    They also start importing more European bikes:Ariel,Sunbeam,AJS,Horex,
    Zundapp,Parilla and others.

    An advertisment of the imports of Hosk.




    In 1953 they hire Mr. Hori Yoshiro who was production manager of Asahi Miyata.Next year they announce the new brand that will make motorcycles,
    the HOSK from the initials of Hori(H),Ozeki(O),Shimizu(S)andKimura(K)(he was a technician).

    The HOSK badge reminds alot of the Horex one
    Next episode:The Hosk production bikes.
    To be continued...
    Last edited by fkostas; 11th June 2013 at 02:33 PM.

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    Re: HONDA STORY SECOND PART



    In 54 they announce the AB OHC 200 based on Shimizu's pre war racer and also
    the CA 143cc a split single two stroke similar to Puch.(double piston single ,not a twin)
    But it was expensive the market needed cheap utilitarian bikes and not sport bikes.so they didn't sell well and the OHC had issues when the engine was hot the cam chain would get stretched rising more the temperature
    and blowing gaskets Just like AJS had discovered when they first made
    this engine.(This is the grandad of the post war AJS 7R) but then they put a
    "weller" tensioner and ..problem solved.Why Shimizu couldn't do the same I have not a clue..

    This I think it's a racing version of the OHC 200cc.It is called AA200.

    At the same time they made the DA 498 OHC twin prototype but they chose not to produce it.
    There's also a bunch of models from 250 to 500cc OHV of the Horex Regina blood line.

    AB deluxe 250 OHV,FA 350 OHV,GA 500 OHV and DB 500twin OHC



    The FA 350 A horex clone

    This one is a FA 500 OHV.Maybe they made a 500 version for racing only because I haven't see this mentioned
    as a production model.


    Another racer .SH 500 twin.




    Somewhere along the line the DA 498 OHC prototype became DB 498 with a chain drive to the camshaft between the cylinders but still with separate gearbox dry sump lubrication.The DB despite the OHC was based on the Royal Enfield twin.(maybe the Meteor?)

    The db 500 in Asama races.


    And acivilian DB 500.

    They also sell the OHC 200 single to Showa (Masakazu)who are making the Cruiser brand and where very successful in autorace at Asama and at Fuji mountain race.

    Cruiser 150 OHC with the HOSK engine of Mr Shimizu.



    Another Showa the Light Cruiser 125 OHC.


    Masakazu was a company founded in China in the, then Japanese, Manchuria to produce a light motorcycle based on the Sachs 2stroke(?).
    But Showa (Masakazu) seeing the problem that the cam chain was creating
    they decided without the permission of Hosk to develop the engine for themselves.Somehow, to solve the problem of the cam chain stretching, they
    turned the engine into a side valve which was a technological step back.

    This is the side valve Cruiser.If your cam chain gives you trouble make a bike without one!!!

    In 1959 showa buys out Hosk and moves all the manufacturing rights and the production facilities to their industry.Yamada co. returns to imports until 1968 when the president Mr. Ozeki dies.
    Showa continued with the Hosk bikes but I can't find if they sold them as Hosk or as Cruiser.They also had their own two strokes very competitive in the races
    and selling well in the lightweight market and at the same time they were developing a small car and a scooter.All that seems to have been too much for them.
    To be continued...
    Last edited by fkostas; 11th June 2013 at 02:56 PM.

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    Re: HONDA STORY SECOND PART



    . In 1960 Yamaha bought Showa mainly to get access into the four stroke technology of Hosk and eventually made the XS 1 which according to every Japanese source that I read was designed by the Hosk engineers and developed together with Toyota .Yamaha has helped Toyota (I haveno idea how) with the development of the first Toyota 2000 engine.
    In "western" blogs I see that the xs through the Hosk is aHorex clone but I think this is a misunderstanding that I believe has it's source in google translation.

    The DA 500 I believe that it was made only as a prototype.The only pictures that I can find are of this very same bike,shot at different angles from the same meuseum (?).


    I can see how the Hosk DA was similar to Horex but it has nothing to do
    with the post war Horex Imperator and this becomes obvious if one sees how different the engines are.If the Hosk engineers did get inspired by Horex,
    which seems to me that they did ,then the model they have in their minds
    was the pre war Horex S6 and S8.A long stroke sports bike that was made
    in about 100 pieces plus a few more that Tornax bought from Horex for their
    Tornado model.So inspired by that ,should be the right word, because it is
    difficult(but not impossible) to have a rare Horex S6 in Japan to take apart and reverse engineer it.

    Horex S8.Twin 800cc OHC(I want one).


    Another S8.What a work of art.(I want this one too please)


    From the other hand Yamaha wanted to make "something like a Triumph"
    twin but without the problems of the ageing design of the Triumph.That's why they made an engine in unit with the gearbox to avoid the oil leaks from the many gasket faces that a non unit engine has, plus an OHC because with it the engine goes to higher rpm and needs less maintenance(or it is supposed to).
    If you see the engine characteristics(boreXstroke,HP,primary drive etc)it is clear that they had Triumph in their minds. Triumph in '68 was still a top selling big bike.
    There might have been some inspiration from the unit construction Horex
    Imperator ,since there were the same engineers that admired Horex,but that bike was ancient history in 68 the year of the first XS Yamaha.
    Another story says that the Hosk engineers were developing a new OHC twin even before the Masakazu take over of Hosk.In which case there were,propably,ready designs or maybe even a pre production Hosk engine when Yamaha acquired Masakazu with the Hosk included.
    All that of course is just my opinion and every body knows what Dirty Harry thought about opinions all this time ago.


    The Hosk workforce.



    Ah before I forget in aprevious post on Olympus I said that maybe HOSK bought the Horex-like engine from Olympus.
    Now that I know a little more this doesn't seem to be true.

    So that's it about Hosk.Anybody wants to know something about a specific bike?Hiko?
    I have hundreds of pics of old Japanese bikes and a little bit of history for most of them.
    Last edited by fkostas; 11th June 2013 at 02:27 PM.

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    Re: HONDA STORY SECOND PART



    A little note here to say that: The Asahi brand has nothing to do with theAsahi Pentax cameras(Asahi I think means sunshine or sunrise).The olympus bike has nothing to do with the cameras with the same name.The Showa has nothing to do with the famous suspension Showa of today or with the Showa aircrafts co.( I think Showa is an era.It started early 20's and ended somewhere in the 50's or 60's.Japanese blogs sometimes mention the years by Showa.Like.."this happened during Showa 23..." Just to add to the confusion of google translation.)
    Last edited by fkostas; 6th May 2013 at 04:19 AM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Another interesting bike was the Monarch motorcycle.
    It starts with Fujio Murata who was the son in low of Osamu Murata the president of Meguro in the 50's.(What?the same last name?)
    So Fujio Murata was manager of the "body plant"(?) at the headquarters of Meguro
    He was also racing in autorace together with Shigeru Kuwahara(?)
    In 1950 Shigeru Kuwahara(?) died in an accident in auto race and the president
    withdrew the Meguro team(?)from autorace and asked his son in low to stop racing.
    He offered to Fujio Murata funding and an old factory of Meguro to build his own engine with the condition he will not participate in the races.
    They hire Nomura Fusao of "international film equipment" as president of the Monarch motor co.
    Fujio Murata on a Monarch pony.He was a good looking guy and he was used as a model for promotion pictures and also motorcycle magazine photos.



    They make a prototype.The NM1, 142cc four stroke OHV with a high camshaft inspired from Velocette.Also the 149 OHV that Meguro was making for another bike industry
    (Abe Motors who had the Abe Star brand) becomes the Monarch Pony PM3.



    The Monarch pony engine was an improved Meguro engine.


    But they don't have the performance expected and they redesign them with higher camshaft and shorter push rods.
    Then an enlarged 190cc model comes which is entered in the Nagoya
    TT of 1953.But the frame wasn't up to the competition .
    Next year they made a 250cc the M3 with "rotary" gearbox something that was adopted by many other brands.
    They enter it to Fuji mountain races and they take the 1,2,3,4,and 7 position.



    But the Korean war brings recession to Japan and Monarch motors was seriously lacking in management.It seems they where more interested in bikes and races than accounts.

    Fujio Murata (I presume) on a Monarch M3.





    In 1954 they bankrupt having 1 billion yen debt.
    In 1955 the father in low steps in once more and invests more money
    in the restructured Monarch Industries co.ltd.

    Monarch SP1(and Mitsubishi gas station ?)


    They make the 250 SP1 and the racing F1 but it was too late.
    I read that they went bankrupt again in 1960 but I can't find any activity
    between '55 and'60.
    The racing F1

    Monarch Sp 1 with earles fork.Nice engine with smooth casting.High camshaft,short pushrods like the Velocette but looks like it has much shorter stroke.


    The Monarch was another high quality expensive Japanese bike with very good performance made by passionate bikers and not a cheap copy just to save development funds.


    Monarch F1
    Last edited by fkostas; 12th May 2013 at 02:37 AM.

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    Re: HONDA STORY SECOND PART



    Hi again
    Today another unknown cool small industry.

    The Pearl motorcycle that was made by Kosakusho Yamashita Mfg. co.,an engineering firm which was founded in 1941 to produce machinery tools(?)in Nagoya prefecture.
    Nagoya for a few years had more than 80 motorcycle industries. In 1953 it became the home of the Nagoya TT.A race in public streets in the spirit of the Manx TT.The idea behind the race was to help improve the engines of the small factories of the period and it was restricted to Japanese bikes only.It was organised by the Ministry of trade and industry(?) and local authorities.In the first race there were 19 different companies participating and 57 riders.
    In 1947 Kosakusho Yamashita Mfg. co.decides to enter the motorcycle market and they start designing their own engine.
    In 1950 they make a side valve engine the Z53 150cc and an OHV the P53 150cc as well.


    Pearl Z 150 side valve

    In 1951 they install the side valve engine in a racing frame and they enter the bike in Autorace(or dirt track?).The rider was Mamoru Yamashita the 9 year old son of the founder of the industry(Yes really! 9 years old!!!)They chose to race the side valve instead of the OHV because it was lighter and easier for the kid to race.It had a special,lowered,frame.

    Yamashita Jr. on the 150cc side valve racer.9 years old and he already has "The look".


    In 1952 they make an OHC version of the engine,called K engine.They make a bike with the new engine called P52 150(or golden arrow ).The engineers that designed it were Imamura Masateru and Miyazaki Kyosuke.Imamura,was a successful racer on a velocette(KTT 250?) before the war.

    The Pearl P52. 150cc,OHC,bevel drive,boreXstroke 56X50mm.


    With the OHC K engine they prepare race bikes for autorace,dirt track,and for the Nagoya TT(only one bike for each version).In 1952 Yamashita Jr. races the OHC 150 in various dirt tracks and wins theToyohashi (?)race .

    1952 Yamashita Jr.and Pearl 150cc OHC winner of the Toyahashi dirt track race.Check out the "alternative" front fork.(Cool shoes too!)



    In 1953 they enter the 1st Nagoya TT with a scaled down 125 OHC and take 8th position.The same boy is the works rider for all kinds of races(!!).The racing "authorities' made an exception and gave him a racing license ,even though he was under aged.

    The TT 125 OHC with Earles type fork.


    In 1955 they entered the 1st Asama mountain TT,a similar venue as the Nagoya TT with this 125cc OHC bike.

    The Pearl in the 1st Asama TT.OHC,123cc,54mmX54mm and Earles type fork



    The times where difficult though and the Korean crisis made things worse for small industries.Mizuho who made the Cabton motorcycles and sold engines to a number of small industries,files for bankruptcy drifting with them the rest of their customers.
    At the same time the government cuts the funds to the small companies and eventualy,within a few years, only the big ones survive.
    It was a real slaughter but Pearl soldiers on and in 1956 they introduce a new engine.A 250cc,unit single,with bevel drive to the OHC.They market it as KM250 but they must have sold very few of it.

    The pearl KM 250 of 1956.OHC,232cc,70mmX65mm,14.5Hp,4 gears.The frame is not unlicke a BMW frame.(like most of the previous street bikes they made)


    The KM 250 engine.Looks very advanced for 1956.It is of the Italian school but I have never seen an engine with the bevel drive at an angle


    They also make a racing version(they made a racer out of each engine they produced!)but with gears driving twin overhead camshafts.They want to enter it in the 2nd Asama TT but they don't have the funds to do it.I think they couldn't pay the,substantial,entry fee.
    Mamoru Yamashita ends up racing a Masakazu (Showa) Light Cruiser 125(with a Hosk OHC engine).I think he takes the 2nd place.
    After the race Pearl motors withdraws from the motorcycle market.

    The DOHC engine.

    Gear drive to double OHC and hairpin valve springs.Very "Italian", high performance set up.


    Mamoru Yamashita became a works rider for Honda and he had a successful racing career until a serious accident(1967?)forced him to retire.

    Pearl KTT 1955.250cc,bevel drive OHC,65mmX75mm,compression 7,3:1,10,5PS/5700rpm,158kg.


    The parent co.,Kosakusho Yamashita Mfg. co.,continued with the production of car and airplane parts .Later doing work for Mitsubishi heavy industries (construction of wind tunnel models?)and is still alive and well doing a variety of engineering constructions and aerospace research and testing equipment for airplane construction(?)and and...A very busy company,still small with 42 employees.And guess who is the managing director.Mr Mamoru Yamashita himself.Young and enthusiastic as always,gives interviews and speeches on the Pearl motorcycle and the history of racing back then.
    They even have a page dedicated to the Pearl in the Kosakusho Yamashita Mfg. co official web site.
    There is still motorcycle passion in Nagoya where Mr Yamashita's headquarters are.

    Pearl TT 150cc


    Pearl brochure with the OHV P53 and the side valve Z53


    Last edited by fkostas; 25th May 2013 at 12:21 AM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    ----------
    Last edited by fkostas; 18th June 2013 at 05:15 AM.

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    Re: HONDA CB750 SOHC



    Hello again,
    for today the IMC.


    IMC was one of the ,so called, assembly manufacturers,factories that were buying the engines from other industries.
    It started in 1947 by Ito Tadaschi (later he changed his name to Ito Jinichi)who during the war was working for Mitsubishi aviation in the design of jigs(?).
    In 1947 he established a company (Ito Movers Works?) with 3 employees to produce motorcycles in Nagoya.
    The first one was the IMC (Ito motor cycle) Falcon A.It was a bicycle with a clip on engine.As it was usual with other industries of the era he used a war surplus engine that was made either to charge the batteries of the tanks or it was the starter of the tanks(?).It was a two stroke of 78 cc and it became popular thanks to it's good performance.



    The IMC Falcon A with the war department surplus engine.The same engine was used by Honda for their first model

    When the stock of engines dried out he approached Tohatsu to commission the production of an engine for IMC.Tohatsu agreed with the term that they were going to use the engine to market their own moped as well.
    IMC made the Falcon B in 1948 and the Falcon C in '49 with the Tohatsu engine and with improvements to the frame to differentiate it from the Tohatsu.
    1950 brings the model D with a Mitsubishi 150 cc engine(I think side valve),in 51 the IMC E with the same engine and rear suspension and in 52 the 150cc F and a 175 version the G model.



    The IMC F with the mitsubishi 150 engine.The black ractangular"things" on the crash bars are aftermarket blinkers.


    In 52 they build a new factory 100 square meters (only?) with the capacity to build 200 bikes a month!
    Next year they introduce the IMC H with the 150cc OHV valve engine from Katayama industries( Olympus).
    They enter it in the Nagoya TT race.They take the 23d position and the 7th place in the team awards.
    In 1954 they build the K model with a Mizuho (Cabton) 250 OHV.



    IMC 250 cc K model.Very Triumph like.


    This was a 250 single cylinder version of the,Indian Warrior inspired, RTS 500 Cabton twin engine.
    The K model was voted the best motorcycle design in a "motorcyclist"magazine contest and it became news on the national TV and together with a photo shoot with IMC bikes and pretty girls and an advertising campaign on 50 nationwide newspapers, gave much needed publicity to IMC.



    The IMC K during an advertising run of 500 km.


    The same year they produce 1963 motorcycles,K model and J model with a 175cc Mitsubishi side valve engine, and they become the number 14 moto industry of Japan



    The 250 K again.From this angle it looks to have just one cylinder.


    But the success of the K model wasn't going to last.
    Mr Ito ,who,from what I read was an honorable man,a gentleman of the"old days", had an agreement with Mizuho to buy their engines with the condition that Mizuho will not sell complete bikes.
    This was an old fashioned business deal that was sealed with a hand shake and no paperwork.
    Next year Mizuho introduces the Mizuho 250 MJ with the same engine but with a single exhaust port and one excaust pipe and at the same time stops supplying the engines to their other customers.There was 5 different industries using the Mizuho 250 for their own bikes.



    The Mizuho 250 MJ.With single excaust and other cost cutting solution looks cheaper than the IMC K.
    .
    They sell the Mizuho MJ for 135000 yen while the IMC K costs 165000 yen.
    As mentioned on the Cabton-Mizuho post earlier they tried to corner the market with prices lower than the competition but they ended up cornering themselves.
    They spoiled their brand image and soon went bankrupt.
    IMC is forced to find another engine supplier and they end up with a Kawasaki 250 OHV engine to make the M model with the same cycle parts as the 250 K but with a swinging arm rear suspension.



    The IMC M with the Kawasaki Aircraft co. engine.

    The same year,1955,they make the 125 NB a 2stroke with a Fuji engine made by Gasuden(really that's the name I didn't make this up).
    Gasuden was a company that,after WW2, was making a minivan and produced their own engines for it.Later Fuji used the engine for the Fujicabin three wheel car and eventually bought Gasuden and used the engines for their own bikes and to sell to other companies.



    Maybe the 125 NB or a similar model with the Gasuden engine






    In 1956 Mizuho goes bankrupt and many other small industries close their doors.The "natural selection", that will end up with only 4 big industries left in Japan, has started.
    IMC builds a new factory in their own land.With 50 employees and a cost cutting policy they try to keep the 300 bike per month production target.
    They introduce the P 200 and R 250 2 stroke twin.



    The IMC 250 R with a twin engine was fast and sold well.


    The engines from now on are all from Gasuden exept one more Kawaski engined 250 OHV the MS 250 with Earles fork.



    A brochure from'57.At the bottom right the MS 250.







    In 1957 they sell 2528 bikes.
    In 1959 the Ise Bay typhoon(?) hits the factory that submerges into water.
    The co. has to stay closed for 2 months.
    At the same time the popularity of the small car and of Honda and Yamaha motorcycles rises.
    IMC finds themselves in debt for the first time.They continue with 2 strokes of 125-250 cc.In 1960 they make only 52 bikes per month.
    In 1961 they stop production of motorcycle but they still make parts for the older models.
    Finally in 1962 they sell their factory to pay back the debts and they close the doors.
    The IMC merged with Nissan diesel and nothing was heard of it any more...


    At the blog that I found this picture the caption said:IMC with Mitsubishi engine.
    I don't know of any Mitsubishi engine with upright cylinder and to me it looks like the M model with the Kawasaki engine from the brochure a few pictures back.The picture must be from the photos with the girls.This is the first time I see a Japanese bike of the era with a double seat.Or is just a cover pretending to be double seat?
    Last edited by fkostas; 21st June 2013 at 04:55 AM.

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